Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider Shane 'Shakey' Byrne left it until the final lap to grab the fastest time in the final MCE British Superbike free practice session at Oulton Park.
The reigning champion, who is chasing a milestone 50th BSB victory in the series in this afternoon's first race of the triple-header weekend at the Cheshire circuit, lapped in 1m 35.580s on his ZX-10R to take the top spot from Samsung Honda's Alex Lowes by a mere 0.047s.
Milwaukee Yamaha's James Ellison maintained his strong form from Friday to finish third and right in contention with a lap in 1m 35.654s on the R1, which left him only 0.074s behind Byrne.
Ellison had headed the times for much of FP3 until he was outgunned in the closing stages first by Lowes and then Byrne.
Series rookie PJ Jacobsen rode impressively to take fourth on the Tyco Suzuki, 0.758s behind the leader, while Buildbase BMW's Jon Kirkham and Tommy Bridewell – riding the Halsall Racing Kawasaki for the first time this weekend – rounded out the top six.
Australia's Josh Brookes dropped to seventh on the time sheets on his Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000, 1.122s off the pace.
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda), Dan Linfoot (Lloyds British GBmoto Honda) and James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) were the top ten.
Keith Farmer returned to action after his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki was damaged during a fall in FP2 yesterday, but the Northern Irishman was languishing in 18th position at the conclusion of free practice.
Howie Mainwaring has salvaged a ride with Tsingtao WKbikes Performance Kawasaki after his MH Kawasaki team withdrew from the Oulton Park round at the last minute.
MSS Kawasaki's Nick Morgan is also involved in the eleventh hour deal to enable Mainwaring – who finished 21st in FP3 – to compete this weekend.
Superpole and the first of the weekend's three MCE British Superbike races takes place this afternoon.CLICK HERE
to view FP3 results